The Calm After the Storm: Cleaning Up After Hurricane Irma

The big hurricane of the season for our area just roared through. This was one of the most powerful storms I can remember there being in the Tampa Bay area since I’ve been alive. We’re fortunate enough to have only had minor damage compared to what could have occurred. Still, there was a lot of destruction throughout the area. A big part of what happened was the weaker trees and tree limbs were subject to very strong winds. This caused many tree branches to break, limbs to buckle, some of the larger older trees broke at the base, and even some were uprooted. There are a lot of households today weeks after Hurricane Irma (Sept. 12th) waiting for debris to be cleaned up. There are also some large trees that are a much bigger problem than simple debris cleanup.

Storm Debris and Downed Trees:

This mammoth task of cleaning up is expected to be a seven days a week task for the next few weeks, at least. One of the cleanup recovery operations going on at the moment is the Pinellas county storm debris collection program. In a September 25th press release the county said that hundreds of workers had cleared rights-of-way in dozens of communities, and that a first pass of all unincorporated zones would be completed over the next four weeks, with additional collections to follow. Yesterday, the City of Dunedin said that they are expecting the first pass of debris removal to be complete in 4-5 weeks, and 3 complete passes and sweeps within 8-12 weeks. On September 19th the City of Clearwater wrote that they expect one pass of debris cleanup to take 4-6 weeks, and that they are expecting this will have the city cleared of storm debris.

Pinellas County Unincorporated Cleanup Site:

Residents should stack debris along the curb in the strip of grass between the roadway and sidewalk (this is referred to as the right-of-way). Also, do not bag the hurricane debris.

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